Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and The Platform Evolution


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Update: full transcript now available on my blog: webcast on how the Dynamics CRM platform has evolved over the years and what it means to the system customizer, especially with the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 product version that presents a major paradigm shift in terms of the user interface. Includes recommendations on how to deliver a better user experience for your CRM system users and what you need to change in your solution design approach compared to some of the earlier versions.

See a recording of this live webcast at or just check the last slide of the presentation.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and The Platform Evolution

  1. 1. Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization and The Platform Evolution Jukka Niiranen (@jukkan)
  2. 2. Today’s agenda • History of Microsoft’s CRM platform – CRM 2013 – the start of the next chapter? • Effects of mobile computing – One app – many, many clients • Customizing CRM today – Design more than just the data model • Delivering responsive solutions – …with no code!
  3. 3. About me • Dynamics CRM consultant from Helsinki, Finland • Worked with the platform since 2005 • Frequent blogger & #MSDYNCRM evangelist on social media – Blog: Surviving CRM at – @jukkan on Twitter (& many other networks…) • Awarded as Microsoft MVP last year • Focused on improving CRM solution usability & information work efficiency
  4. 4. About Digital Illustrated • Digital Illustrated is an agile technology agency that creates business value with Microsoft technologies. • We focus on solutions that improve customer experience, social collaboration and business agility. • Designing and implementing consumer-grade enterprise solutions built on platforms like SharePoint, Dynamics CRM, Yammer, Azure • Founded in 2011, growing fast, and owned by the employees • THIS JUST IN! Download a free CRM Online goal visualization app for your Windows Phone 8 device from!
  5. 5. HISTORY OF MICROSOFT’S CRM CRM 2013 – The start of a new chapter?
  6. 6. The first chapter of CRM: 2003-2011 CRM 1.0 (2003) • Sales & service modules • Outlook integration CRM 3.0 (2005) • Custom entities (XRM) • Marketing module • SSRS reporting CRM 4.0 (2007) • Multi-tenancy, multi- language, multi-currency • Windows Workflow Foundation • From callouts to plugins • Report Wizard CRM 2011 • Charts & dashboards • The Ribbon • Solution model • Native Outlook app • Form subgrids, web resources, goal management, dialogs
  7. 7. From evolution to revolution? • The first 4 major releases of CRM were a steady evolution: – New functionality and options being added alongside existing ones – Platform components replaced with more robust technologies • CRM 2011 was a “more of everything” release, a pinnacle of this chapter • CRM 2013 no longer continued on this familiar path, instead it could be seen as an “everything’s different” type of a paradigm shift
  8. 8. 2006 2013 Microsoft DynamicsCRM Salesforce User interface evolution CRM applications: Microsoft vs. Salesforce
  9. 9. CRM design principles: then and now 2004 2013 Clean Elegant Simple
  10. 10. THE EFFECTS OF MOBILE COMPUTING One app – many, many clients
  11. 11. Mobile CRM concept: then and now What Microsoft originally thought it was What it actually turned out to be
  12. 12. CRM 2013 Client Types Web Outlook Tablet Phone
  13. 13. Key Differences Between Clients Web • Mostly single window • Sitemap as global Nav Bar • 3 column form layout by default • No more Ribbon Outlook • Sitemap shown as folders • Ribbon in main window • Popups for record details • Preview form as single column • No Global Quick Create Tablet • Standard forms rendered for touch • One dashboard • Business Rules supported • Scripts supported • No HTML or iFrames support Phone • Separate Mobile forms • Business Rules not supported
  14. 14. Client Support Considerations • Every supported client option will require testing – and support • Outlook client is still frequently needed for tracking individual emails and other activities, regardless of the CRM 2013 Server- side Sync support • Not all of your entity form functionality may work when accessing the record via the CRM for Tablets app • The Web UI can be accessed with many non-PC devices
  15. 15. CUSTOMIZING CRM TODAY Design more than just the data model
  16. 16. Traditional CRM system Forms resembling traditional paper forms for data entry Tabbed navigation “Exploding” related records menus Popups everywhere! Focus on individual records Little visual guidance available, just fields
  17. 17. Modern CRM system Every window is a “main window” Data from parent & child records All the latest related events Consistent grouping of information
  18. 18. CRM is not a graphical UI for designing database tables • CRM customization has traditionally been too much focused on just the data model • End user experience cannot be the direct result of the data model – it requires proper design work in its own right • How to store the data and how to present it to the user are becoming more and more independent design tasks in CRM • However, data model cannot be defined without considering its impact to end user experience
  19. 19. Levels of CRM solution design Data model Data presentation User interaction
  20. 20. CRM 2013 considerations for user interaction design • Design the Sitemap • Promote child records on parent forms • Be creative with Quick View Forms • Test and customize Quick Create • Optimize the Command Bar • Simulate your process before implementing Business Process Flows
  21. 21. Delivering responsive solutions …with no code!
  22. 22. No-code process automation tools in CRM Workflows CRM 4.0 Workflows Dialogs CRM 2011 Workflows • Asynchronous • Real-time Dialogs Business Process Flows Business Rules Actions CRM 2013
  23. 23. Business Rule • Executes before save event (form onLoad and field onChange) • Applied to data updates through UI only • For working with a single record • Cannot access data from related records • Can manipulate data and UI Real-Time Workflow • Executes on save event • Applied to data updates through UI and API • For working with single or multiple records • Can access data from parental records • Can manipulate data only Asynchronous Workflow • Executes after save event • Applied to data updates through UI and API • For working with single or multiple records • Can access data from parental records • Can manipulate data only Dialog • Executes on user demand • Not applied on any data updates • For working with a single record • Can access data from parental records and query data • Can manipulate data only Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Process Automation Functionality Read more details from my blog at
  24. 24. Advanced UI customization: then and now
  25. 25. TAKEAWAYS
  26. 26. “Everything is different in CRM 2013 because…” • It’s consumed via a client applications of different shapes & sizes • It accepts your old customizations but it presents them in completely new surroundings • It opens the doors for non-developers to build a truly intelligent, responsive business application
  27. 27. Want to learn more about CRM 2013? • Watch out for an updated CRM 2013 edition of the CRM Field Guide – a book written by Dynamics CRM MVPs: • Go and read more about the latest Dynamics CRM news and tips on my Surviving CRM blog:
  28. 28. Thanks for your time!